Hello Summer 

Another year, another school for the Fry kids. The 2016-17 academic year is a wrap, and Henry and Ruby are one summer away from 5th and 3rd grade. It seems like they both grew at an accelerated rate this year – on every level. Comparing their first and last day of school photos, it looks like each is a head taller. 

Emotionally, socially and academically, both Henry and Ruby made big strides this year in Bellingham. Henry joined the chess club and made it to the state tournament. Ruby discovered her artist self and blew all of us away with her unique perspective on the world. Both took up ice skating and soccer and made so many friends in the process. 

The week before school let out, Kristine and I had the opportunity to review the kids’ portfolios that document their units of inquiry and work over the course of the year. Among Henry’s projects was a how-to chess book, which he sweetly dedicated to me. Ruby’s art section was stunning. Both of their teachers were amazing, which is a huge reason why they both excelled as much as they did. 

The Fry kids have hit their stride in Bellingham. This weekend we start a well deserved summer vacation. In preparation for our cross country RV trip in July, we’re doing a shake down cruise with the RV this weekend. Next week Ruby begins swimming lessons. Then Henry goes to LARP camp. The adventure continues. 

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The Cedar Chest 

When my dad was 19, he bought my mom a cedar chest. I never knew how the cedar chest made its way into our family. I just remember it always being around – the place where we stored old family photos, birth certificates, baptismal gowns, and other family heirlooms. When I was a young boy, sitting on the floor of our rec room, I would occasionally open it up to sift through its contents. I loved the smell of cedar that would waft out as I opened the lid. I could keep myself busy for hours looking at black and white photos and my parents’ wedding album. I’m pretty sure I was the only person to regularly look through it, so the cedar chest became my hiding place for my own secret treasures. That’s where I kept my baseball cards.

This Memorial Day weekend, Kristine, the kids and I traveled to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho to help my parents move out of their house on Lake Coeur d’Alene, where they have lived for 20 years. That chest has sat untouched in a closet under my parents’ stairs for those two decades. My mom and dad have known for a while that I’ve had my eye on the cedar chest, so they are now ready to part ways with it. As she cleaned it out in preparation for our visit, my mom said she found my old baseball cards. She also found old photos of my dad and her from the dances they attended at Gonzaga Prep and Gonzaga University in the late 1950s and early ’60s. Henry and Ruby got a kick out of those.

Today, we all visited my parents’ house on the lake for the last time. My dad helped me load that cedar chest in the minivan. When we get back to Bellingham, that cedar chest is where I’m going to keep the memorabilia of Fry Lodge. I wonder if Henry or Ruby will develop their own relationship with that piece of furniture. Either way, I’m sure I’ll occasionally find myself sitting in front of it with the lid open, as the smell of cedar washes memories over me.

Goodbye, Fry Lodge Rockford Bay 

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Henry Takes Tacoma

Six months of tournaments culminated this weekend with Henry’s participation in the 2017 Washington State Chess Championship Tournament at the Tacoma Convention Center. To qualify, Henry had to win at least 3 games in at least one qualifying tournament this year. He managed to do that in all six tournaments in which he played. He had to turn it up a notch for Tacoma, though, as every kid there had won at least as many games as he had; and most had been playing for several years. H-man took it all in stride, winning two out of his five games in the state tournament. We’re so proud of you, Henry!

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One Picture. 1000 Words. 

2017 Fry Lodge Easter Photo Shoot 

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Nightswimming deserves a quiet night

We spent 50 percent of our time this week in the pool, so it’s fitting to have ended our vacation with a night swim. It took us a few days in La Quinta to realize the only thing Henry and Ruby really needed was several hours in the water every day. In fact, it’s probably all I needed, too. 

That said, Carl and Kaye showed us a wonderful time in the Coachella Valley this week. We loved every minute of spring break – from the wildlife in the Living Desert to speeding in the convertible, to yes, arriving 45 minutes early for mass on Sunday. 

Thank you, Mom and Dad, for another wonderful visit. Can’t wait to come back. 

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Romance and Sex Life of the Date 

The headline worked on us, too. This is what the sign says in front of Shields Date Garden on Highway 111 in Indio, CA. After a four year hiatus, we’re back in the Coachella Valley to visit my mom and dad for spring break. We’d been craving a date shake ever since hearing about them, so Carl and Kaye took us to Shields today for some date education. The roadside attraction’s short film, Romance and Sex Life of the Date, taught us about this fruit’s unlikely existence. Apparently, there exist no insects to pollinate date palm trees, so date farmers must perform that process. Also, dates are of course not native to the desert, so growing them is quite a natural resource and labor intensive endeavor. Which is probably why no other place is likely to replace Coachella Valley as the date capitol of the world anytime soon. Ninety five percent of the dates grown in the U.S. come from the Valley. 

After learning about the sex life of the date, we paid $5.00 a piece to stroll through the garden behind the date souvenir shop, where the owners have constructed 14 scenes from the life of Jesus Christ. 

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Fry Lodge Sports Saturday 

What a sports day at Fry Lodge. The big news is that Ruby played her first ever soccer game – made extra sweet by her team’s 6-1 victory. Ruby did great, playing three different positions throughout the game: defender, midfielder and goalie (no scores against her). Nice work, Ruby!

We started the day with Henry’s soccer game, which was also fun. His team played Lynden, who are apparently very serious about their sports. The Southside Tsunami held their own for most of the game. Henry’s a great defender.

Oh, and the Gonzaga Bulldogs won their Elite Eight game against Xavier, sending the Zags to the NCAA Final Four for the first time.

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